Friday, 1 June 2012

The Animal Nature of Man

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This is an adapted selection from a classic work written by Shaykh ‘Umar Futi ibn Sa’id Thal (q.s.).  He was the Tijaniyyah shaykh of the Sudan and Niger region.  This selection comes from ar-Rimah al-Hizb ar-Rahim ‘ala Nahur al-Hizb ar-Rajim, “The Spears of the League of the Merciful Thrown at the Necks of the League of the Accursed,” which is a book written in defense of the religion, the awliya’ullah, thuruq and the Thariqa’ Tijaniyyah in particular.

Success is achieved with the help of Allah (s.w.t.), for He is the Guide by His Grace to the Straight Path.  As we should know, that fact of life is inferred from Allah's (s.w.t.) Saying in the Qur’an:


There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you ... (Surah al-An’am:38)

Allah (s.w.t.) has, thus, Established the likeness between us and all the animals.  It is well known fact that they do not resemble us in physical constitution and mental capacity, but they do resemble us in natural characteristics, for there is not one human being who does not possess the natural characteristics of the animals.  If we notice that a certain person does not match the normal character of human beings, we must consider which of the animals resembles him in character, then link him to it and treat him accordingly, so that we can be safe from him and he can be safe from we.

If we notice a man is morally ignorant, temperamentally crude, physically strong, and potentially dangerous, we must assign him to the realm of the leopards, for the Arabs have a saying: “More ignorant than a leopard.”  If we happened to see a leopard, we would keep your distance from it, and we would certainly not quarrel with it, so we must treat that man in the same fashion.

If we notice that a certain person has the character of a stealthy thief, you must assign him to the realm of the monkeys.  He may pilfer the contents of our saddlebags, so we must refrain from quarreling with him and safeguard our belongings.

If we notice that a man is given to assaulting people's reputations, we must assign him to the realm of the dogs, since it is their habit to be rough with a person who does not treat them roughly, and to set about annoying someone who does not bother them.  We must, therefore, refrain from quarreling with such a man, when he assaults our reputation and simply treat him like a dog that barks at us; just go about our business and do not hurl abuse at him.

If we notice that a certain person is disposed to disagreement for no good reason - if we say “yes”, he automatically says “no”, and if we say “no”, he automatically says “yes” - we must assign him to the realm of the donkeys, for the habit of the donkey is to move away when you approach it, and to draw near when you move away from it.  We should, therefore, make friends with the donkey, and neither abuse him nor part company with him.

If we notice a man is interested in people’s private parts, you must assign him to the realm of the flies, for they alight on the body, searching only for the site of blood and excrement.  We must chase that man away and pay no attention to him, just as we would treat a fly.

If we are presented by a ruler, who assaults the properties and the spirits of his subjects, we must assign him to the realm of the lions.  We must be on your guard against him and run away from him.  As the poetic genius said, “There is no staying put in the face of a roar from the lion.”

If we are harassed by a person who is very sly, we must assign him to the realm of the fox.

If we are harassed by the slanderer who causes separation between friends, we must assign him to the realm of the skunk, a small animal that gives off an insufferably putrid stench.  When separation has occurred, the Arabs say. “The skunk broke wind in their midst, so they have separated.”  When this animal approaches a group of people, they chase it away and prevent it from entering amongst them, and the slanderer should likewise be expelled from the group, or they should ostracise him.

If we notice that a man does not listen to knowledge and wisdom, that he shuns the social intercourse of the scholars and the sages, and that he is fond of hearing the tales of this world and other fictitious stories, and what circulates in the gatherings of the common folk, we must assign him to the realm of the dung beetles and the scarabs.  They enjoy eating garbage, and they are fond of the odours of filth, so we will only see them scrounging in the rubbish dumps and the sewers.  They have an aversion to the scents of musk and roses, and if musk and roses are thrown upon them, they will die.

If we notice that a person's habitual interest is the business of this world, and he is not ashamed of pouncing upon it, you must assign him to the realm of the kite, for you must protect yourself.

If we are sharp witted, astute, intelligent, and clever, we must keep this advice before our eyes, for it will enable us to relieve ourselves of many burdens, in dealing with all types of people in accordance with the diversity of their categories.

Allah (s.w.t.) is the Enabling Guide by His Grace to the Straight Path, and to Him is the Return and the homeward journey.


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